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Peer Review

Peer Review


Peer reviewers are museum professionals who volunteer their time to support our Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs (MAP). They review museum self-assessment materials, conduct site visits and facilitate the institutional planning process. Their service is the critical backbone to the success of both programs.

What does a Peer Reviewer do?

  • Review museum self-assessment materials
  • Conduct site visits
  • Facilitate the institutional planning process

Reviewers are matched to museums based on type/discipline and size. Sometimes they are matched based on their experience and expertise with a particular governance structure or type of institutional challenge.

Why become a Peer Reviewer?

Gain professional development and the opportunity to give back to the field. With each site visit, you interact with fellow professionals and learn how another museum is meeting its challenges

Who can become an Alliance Peer Reviewer?

A museum professional who is:

  • Knowledgeable about museum operations with at least five years of experience
  • A participant in the field-wide dialogue on standards, professional practices and emerging field-wide issues (e.g., speaking, writing, teaching, reviewing grants, conferences, etc.)
  • A good communicator with excellent interpersonal skills
  • A strong writer and critical thinker
  • Committed to the highest ethical standards and levels of professionalism
  • Willing to travel and volunteer 40-60 hours of time per assignment

Review the eligibility criteria for full peer reviewer qualifications.

Do Peer Reviewers need to be members of the Alliance?

While Peer Reviewers do not need to be members of the Alliance to participate, joining is recommended as it provides access to additional information and resources that assist you as a reviewer.

What is the time commitment and cost?

You can expect to spend 40-60 hours spent on each assignment. The Alliance will reimburse all travel costs, and a small honorarium is provided to MAP reviewers.

How often will I go on a site visit?

Depending on your experience and expertise, you can expect us to contact you every once every five years.

What are the differences between MAP and Accreditation Reviewers?

MAP and Accreditation programs require peer reviewers to be:

  • Well-informed about current standards and professional practices in the field
  • Broadly knowledgeable about institutions similar to the ones they review
  • Objective, professional, thorough, and diplomatic while visiting the museums and preparing their reports
  • Scrupulous in maintaining confidentiality about the results of the review
  • Familiar with the museum’s self-study and supplementary documents

Beyond these basic similarities there are significant differences in roles and responsibilities for peer reviewers—in line with the different objectives of MAP versus Accreditation:

MAP Peer Reviewers

  • Usually only one reviewer per visit
  • Provide the museum with information about how it compares to standards and professional practices in the field
  • Recommends how the museum might address current challenges and provides resources to help that effort
  • Shares information on how similar institutions operate
  • Writes a report solely for the museum’s benefit
  • Follows up with the museums after the report is submitted to assist with implementation

Learn more about being a MAP Peer Reviewer

Accreditation Peer Reviewers

  • Usually a team of two for each site visit
  • Assesses operations against accreditation standards to aid the decision-making process
  • Does not provide feedback or suggestions to the museum about how to improve operations
  • Must be objective and observational
  • Writes a report primarily for the Accreditation Commission; secondarily for the museum

Learn more about being an Accreditation Peer Reviewer

Contact Us About Peer Review


Mailing Address:

Peer Review
American Alliance of Museums
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005
Arlington, VA 22202

For specific questions about a MAP or Accreditation site visit, contact the appropriate program:

Accreditation Program: or 202-289-9116

Museum Assessment Program: or 202-289-9118

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